at home, Tablescapes

Quick & Easy

When friends suggested we gather one more time for dinner before the hubby and I leave for Maine, I, without thinking, offered to host.  Sometimes I am too spontaneous for my own good!

Luckily, my dining table is rarely undressed which made getting it ready quick and easy.  The new favorite table runner from India, decorative gourds from San Miguel and trivets were in place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith this beautiful runner, I like to keep the table simple and chose to use clear glass dinnerware on a subtle placemat. 

I had no solid napkins so the next best thing was to use ones with essentially the same colors as the runner.

They are bound with flexible holders that were a gift from a friend who knows how I like setting tables.  That’s the kind of friend to have!

As I was putting wine stems out, my eye was drawn to the orange in the runner, so I put the etched glass ones away and opted for the orange stems that usually come out only at Thanksgiving.

All done but for the flatware.  I know Carson of Downton Abbey wouldn’t approve, but I do like to lay it in different ways to add an unexpected touch.

So, in a matter of minutes, the table is set.  I’ve also thought of simple fixings for dinner: pasta mixed with tomatoes, basil and olive oil 

and one of my favorite go to desserts.  What this goes to show is that entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful or require a lot of preplanning.  The real point is to enjoy time with friends.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

at home, Houston

This Is Houston

Every Houston winter is different, and this one has been no exception.  The first few weeks of 2018 have been colder than usual and mostly gray causing me to stay inside  and focus more on preparing comfort food.

Sadly, there were just enough below freezing temperatures to do considerable damage to yards not designed to tolerate the cold.  Now, much of what is in my yard is cut back to the ground waiting for sunshine and warm weather to bring it back.

As I walked around, I noticed little hints of green that promise regrowth.

Weather here can turn on a dime and today is warm and sunny, perfect for a trip to the nursery to gather a few things for repotting.

For the next few months snapdragons, gerbera daisies and ornamental cabbage will add color to the patio and brighten the gray days that are still to come.

With the planting done, it was a treat to sit on the porch for some leisurely moments enjoying a simple lunch and reading.

Days like this are what make Houston a most pleasant place to be, and I look forward to each one between now and the time we return to Maine’s beauty.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

at home, Holiday Decor, Random

Coming Home

It was good news to hear that our daughter who lives away from Houston would be coming home to spend a few days with us before Christmas.  The last few months have not been easy for her, so my thought was to make her visit as warm and cozy as could be.

With its red walls, her old room is an easy one to make look season friendly.  A winter throw is tossed on the bed and Santa will watch over her.

Like so many other things I have, Santa has been around for a long time and has a wonderful memory attached.  I had gone to Oklahoma with a friend.  On the return to Houston we made a journey of several hours stretch into the night by stopping at any and every place that looked of interest.  If you guess that Santa came from one of those stops, you’d be right!

A few more little touches and the room is ready.  Greenery and berries add touches of color among the birdhouses.  

These two are part of my rather large collection but are too big to be displayed with the rest.  

That’s OK because they are right at home sitting on a quilt, one of many made by my grandmother.

Speaking of quilts, so many made by different family members have ended up with me.  Like with other textiles, I can’t bear to leave them wrapped in a closet and find ways to have them out.  Somehow I feel they are a significant part of my heritage.

Getting back to preparing the room, there is a present or two left on the bed in the hope there is something there that will brighten the daughter’s day.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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at home, Decorating, Home Decor

Easy Decorating Tips

shades of fallBecause summer in Maine is a short season, I hold on to it as long as possible.  The time has come to let go, however, as the trees are turning and the leaves are already falling giving hint of the raking and cleanup that is to follow.

Maine houseSometimes I don’t change slipcovers from summer to fall because we are only in Maine until early November.  

Today I had some free time and a burst of energy and set about changing things around to celebrate the first day of fall.  Off came the light slips to be replaced by these with rich colors reflective of the newly arrived season.  And just because, I moved furniture around, too.

I’ve  sworn not to buy anything new so much of the changing look came from shopping the house.  As I looked around, I noticed turquoise accents here and there so that became the “new”.

Throw pillows from another room are added to the mix of fabrics on the sofa.   The turquoise doesn’t seem to mind being thrown in with the reds and golds.

In the cabinet where there are so many candles I forget what they are, I found ones to carry out the color scheme.

 It’s amazing what shows up when you start looking!

Moving things from one place to another gives the table top a new look and a spray of flowers from a recent visit to Trader Joe’s provides the finishing touch.

Now that wasn’t too hard and the changes give the room a totally new look, warm and textured as befits fall.  So, if you are thinking about what to do for fall, my suggestion is use what you have differently.  You might be surprised what happens.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

at home, Food, Tablescapes

Now For the Rest

Now that you’ve seen my friend’s lovely gardens, lets take a quick look inside where we gathered for a delightful lunch after meeting the chickens.

Walking in, one immediately gets a sense of energy and good cheer.  Both are characteristics of the people who live there.

The table is ready for us to sit, but first I want to share a few favorite vignettes.

There are collections so representative of Maine treasures.

IMG_9273I’m crazy for the framed piece by Lynn Karlin who I am taking a workshop from in a couple of weeks.

Among the wonderful spaces is a screened porch with views to a garden area and Maison Poulet.

Relaxed seating makes me think of whiling away a summer afternoon with a good book.

Getting back to the table, you can bet I like these dishes since I have the same and use them frequently.  They are perfect  here as they pick up the design and colors of the table.

There’s no need for an elaborate setting, and the little sprinkler cans filled with flowers from the lush gardens are just right

as is the natural placemat.

Hmmm, I think it’s time to see what’s going on in the kitchen where a garden fresh salad is being tossed to accompany poached salmon.  You know, it just doesn’t get any better than enjoying good food and conversation with a group of interesting women.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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at home, Decorating, Home Decor

Getting It Right

Not only was I bored spending most of my time in bed for 10 weeks, but I began obsessing on things wrong in the bedroom.   The hubby knew that was going to lead to some kind of overhaul, and, indeed, it did.

bedroomSeveral years ago, some walls in the bedroom and study were done with Venetian plaster  that blended more than one color.  The color chosen for the remaining walls was never right, but since I saw them in the dim light of morning and night I let it go.  Not possible after looking at it day after day.

So, the first thing was to choose a new color that would blend a little better.  After sampling several grays, the selection was Sherwin Williams Lazy Gray.  A new color meant new carpet, darker than the one that had shown every little bit of dirt. How much airier the space seemed with those changes!

The hubby thought that was enough, but no, I wasn’t finished.  Every picture was relocated.  I don’t know where the botanicals came from, but I found them in a closet.  What made them a great choice is the frame which picked up the tones in the piece over the bed.

Art that hung over the fireplace was pleasing, but the frames were mismatched. Again I shopped the house, gathering pieces that not only had matching frames but played off the colors dominating the room.  And, note those shelves.  All the clutter is gone and what’s there looks like it belongs.

Now on a roll, I gathered a few other odds and ends as accessories, and they, too, look like they were made for the space.

Though the hubby groaned  thinking the project was unnecessary, he admitted when all was done that the changes were quite an improvement.  That made it all worthwhile, but he’s hoping I don’t have opportunity to obsess over something else in the near future!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

at home, Tablescapes

A Flurry of Energy

After years of things piling up in his study, the hubby got bit by a flurry of energy.  For two days he went through every drawer and shelf carefully sorting the necessary from the unnecessary.  Five garbage bags later he was done, and his space is so organized it’s barely recognizable!

His energy was contagious and inspired me to attack the screen porch which this time of year is pollen laden.  I gathered broom, mop and bucket and set to work sneezing my way through the cleaning process.

Some time ago, an old table and chairs was replaced with a new set.  While the black was OK with the other furniture, it struck me that it all might look better the same color, so off to Home Depot for some black spray paint.

With the porch all clean, the furniture painted and back in place, and the hubby’s study all sparkling clean it was cause for celebration!

Luckily, it was one of those Houston evenings perfect for a simple dinner on the porch.  Simple because we were worn out by our efforts!

Simple also describes the table set with hand made pottery consistent in color but with funky shapes and pattern that make each piece unique.

The glasses, too, are offbeat with indentions at just the right spots for fingers and thumb.  I always wonder if that was intentional or a happy accident.

The napkins were an unconscious choice, but when I put them on the table I had a flashback.   They and matching placemats were an early project on my first floor loom. That means they go back about 30 years and they haven’t faded one bit despite many washings.  I can’t say the same for my store bought napkins!

Surrounded by nothing but bird song, gentle breeze and the sound of water trickling from the fountain, our tired bodies enjoyed a relaxed evening on the porch patting ourselves on the back for our flurry of energy.  Now we’ll see how long we maintain such order!

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